Location: TheRuckSack home page > upcoming trips page > trip page

Sierra Club Wilderness trips and expeditions
   Chapter: Michigan (Mackinac)
   Group: Central Upper Peninsula (CUPG)
   Leader: Michael Neiger, Marquette, Michigan (Web site; e-mail; bio)

Review trip journal from this completed trip

May 27 to June 6, 2005

19th Annual (Spring) Canadian Backpacking Expedition

On this years 11-day Canadian Backpacking Expedition--our 19th annual trip--we'll explore the north escarpment of the extremely rugged 800'-deep Montreal River Gorge and bushwhack overland to the magnificent 825'-deep Agawa Canyon where we will recon the seldom-visited bush secreted away behind its east rim. During our trip, we'll be pouring over our maps and working the bush in search of undocumented waterfalls, rocky overlooks, and pristine bivouac locations. We'll also be looking for massive moose sheds dropped during the previous winter and ground spoor (tracks and scat) from the ever-elusive timber wolf.

   Montreal River Gorge and Agawa Canyon
   Algoma District
   South of Wawa, Ontario

Experience level:
   -- Expert-level, high-skills backpacking
   -- Only suitable for the hardcore, extremely-fit expeditioner
   -- Requires prior backpacking experience with leader

   -- Extremely strenuous
   -- Extremely remote, seldom-traversed route
   -- Extremely rugged & steep/high-angle terrain
   -- Extremely bad bug conditions
      ...black flies, no-see-ums, mosquitoes

Off-trail/on-trail rating:
   80 percent off-trail map & compass recon
   20 percent railroad grades, jeep trails, hydro lines

Participant requirements:
   -- Notice: please review the homepage on this Web site
      for general wilderness tripping requirements
   -- 18 years old or older
   -- non-smoker and non-drinker
   -- very physically fit (good aerobic endurance)
   -- adventurous spirit
   -- proficient swimmer
   -- prior wilderness tripping experience
   -- fully equipped with lightweight backpacking gear
      including rucksack, bivouac gear, survival gear,
      foul-weather gear, rations, stove, etc.

Evac advisory:
    Evac during remote or rugged portions of this trip
    will require helo support.

Bivouac advisory:
   This is not a basecamp trip. We will move each day
   and bivouac in a different location each night,
   often deep in the bush and far from roads,
   dry & level campsites, potable water, toilets, and fire rings.

Trip info:
   -- 8 a.m. Friday to late afternoon on Monday
   -- Club fee: $20
   -- Crown Land Camping Permits: $10 per day; nonprofit
       waiver being applied for to eliminate this expense
       (4-10: fee waiver obtained)
   -- Train fees: $24 Canadian ($29 on train)
   -- Sign up by May 17 required
   -- Contact trip leader for sign up, or application form if new
   -- Review journals and photos from similar wilderness trips

Specialized equipment required:
   -- In-pocket survival kit (knife, matches, firestarters,
      compass, whistle); Sierra Club survival kits can be
      borrowed free of charge
   -- River-fording footwear
   -- Some basic climbing equipment may be required

Rations required:
   -- Breakfasts--10 (Friday morning restaurant stop)
   -- Snacks--11
   -- Lunches--11
   -- Dinners--10
   -- Backup rations--1 full days
   -- Rations and stoves info

Additional destination info:
   -- Algoma Central Railway, 1-800-242-9287, http://www.algomacentralrailway.com
   -- Lake Superior Provincial Park headquarters, 1-705-856-2284, http://www.mnr.gov.on.ca/MNR/parks/lakes.html
   -- "Railpacking," by Don Stap, Backpacker Magazine, September 1985, pp. 48-49.
   -- Backpacking and Wilderness Camp Site Areas in Algoma Central Country, undated 3-page photocopy by Algoma Central Railway.
   -- Canoe Routes, Lake Superior Provincial Park brochure, 2000 edition
   -- Hiking Trails, Lake Superior Provincial Park brochure, 2001 edition
   -- The Complete Guide to Walking in Canada, by Elliott Katz (Firefly Press, 2001)
   -- Voyageur Hiking Trail Guidebook, (Voyageur Trail Association, 1998)
   -- Agawa Ice Climbing Map, (Granite Publishing, 1999) http://www.climbingcentral.com
   -- Algoma Central Railway, by O. S. Nock (A. C. Black Limited, 1975)
   -- Tracks of the Black Bear, by Dale Wilson and Gordon D. Jomini (Nick Belt Rails, 1990)
   -- The Algoma Central Railway Story, by Dale Wilson (Nick Belt Rails, 1984)
   -- Forest Trails: Mile by Mile, by Rick Vosper (Algoma Central Railway, 2002)
   -- Ice Climbs of the Lake Superior Region--A Compendium, edited by Don Hynek (Granite Publishing, 2000) [Agawa Canyon and Montreal River Gorge, pp. 133-172]
   -- Guide to Sea Kayaking on Lakes Superior and Michigan: The Best Day Trips and Tours, by Bill Newman, Sarah Ohmann, and Don Dimond (Globe Pequot Press, 1999) [Lake Superior Provincial Park, pp. 174-181]
   -- Exploring Superior Country--The Nature Guide to Lake Superior by Craig Charles (1992, NorthWood Press, Inc.)
   -- Search destination in http://www.google.com search engine

Travel info:
   -- Driving maps
   -- Road conditions and weather reports
   -- Tourism info
   -- Road trip gear

Wilderness skills and resources info:
   -- Backpacking skills
   -- Land nav skills
   -- River fording skills
   -- Water purification skills
   -- Lightning safety
   -- Low-impact skills
   -- Backpacking links, books, & vendors
   -- Ultralight backpacking links, books, & vendors

   -- Dressing warm skills
   -- Sleeping warm skills
   -- Winter-camping skills
   -- Ice-crossing skills
   -- Snowshoe links, books, & vendors
   -- Winter-camping links, books, & vendors

Emergency contacts:
   -- Ontario Provincial Police, Wawa, 1-888-310-1122
   -- Ambulance, Wawa, 705-856-4203
   -- Hospital, Wawa, 705-856-2335
   -- LSPP Red Rock Lake Headquarters, 705-856-2284
   -- Algoma Central Railway, 1-800-242-9287
   -- Sierra Club Outings Department 24-hour help line: 1-888-outings

Provisional itinerary:

Note: 95-percent of these route objectives are not marked with placenames or other designations on any maps and have not been visited by any members of this expedition; they are probable points of interest based on map study and evaluation only; many will not pan out, a few will be magnificent. All UTM coordinates are calculated from edition 3 1:50,000 quads using a map datum of NAD 1983 CA; to convert to map datum NAD 1927 CA for plotting on edition 2 1:50,000 quads or 1:20,000 base maps, subtract 222 meters from northing coordinate. Warning: plot conversions to 1:20,000 base maps will not be precise; edition 3 1:50,000 quads lack hydro line plot.

  • Start at Mile 102.5 Frater ACR Station (abandoned)
    ...Hike southbound along ACR railroad grade to Mile 96
  • Hubert Mountain 693300mE 5242250mN
    ...summit cleared; 300' tower per edition 3 quads
    ...Friday night bivouac
  • Montreal River Gorge
    ...525' cliff/falls 695450mE 5241150mN
    ...675' cliff 696800mE 5242000mN
    ...500' cliff/falls 696800mE 5342000mN
    ...Saturday night bivouac
    ...Hike north overland and along Hydro Line
    ...Sunday night bivouac
  • Mile 109.5 Little Agawa River Gorge and Falls 690500mE 5249200mN
    ...High probability of numerous falls based on recon of river between ACR tracks and Agawa River in 1995
    ...Monday night bivouac
  • ...Hike northbound along ACR railroad grade to Mile 111 and recon East Canyon Wall at Mile 111 Creek for a possible route to ascend wall. If no route found, ascend canyon wall at Railway Creek Falls (Mile 112) route reconned in 2002
  • Mile 111 Creek, Low Falls 691150mE 5251500mN
    ...Never visited but heard falling water in past
  • Mile 111 Creek, High Falls 691650mE 5251400mN
  • Mile 111 800' South Summit 691450mE 5251050mN
    ...Tuesday night bivouac
  • Mile 111 475' North Summit 691050mE 5251650mN
  • Mile 111.5 Creek Falls 691600mE 5251900mN
  • Mile 112 650' South Summit 690850mE 5252600mN
  • Mile 112 Railway Creek Falls 690750mE 5252950mN
    ...nice falls in slot canyon confirmed in 2002
  • Railway Lake Falls 691100mE 5253750mN
    ...nice falls seen from 200 meters in 2002, not reconned
    ...Wednesday night bivouac
  • Mile 113 Bridal Vail Falls (canyon wall) 690300mE 5254200mN
    ...Well-know 240' falls, ascended to top, from mile 112, in 2002
  • Mile 113 Bridal Vail Falls 575' North Summit 690200mE 5254500mN
  • Mile 113 Bridal Vail Creek Falls (bush) 691100mE 5254900mN
  • Mile 114 Canyon Station 625' Summit 690150mE 5255200mN
  • Mile 114 Canyon Station 500' North Summit No. 1 690100mE 5255900mN
  • Mile 114 Canyon Station 500' North Summit No. 2 690150mE 5256325mN
    ...Thursday night bivouac
  • Mile 115.5 750' South Summit 689800mE 5257700mN
  • Mile 115.5 775' North Summit 689700mE 5258100mN
  • Mile 116 Falls 690000mE 5258800mN
  • Mile 117 425' Agawa Gorge (Monument) Summit 689400mE 5259550mN
  • Mile 117 Lake Falls 690600mE 5259900mN
    ...Friday night bivouac
  • Shannon Lake Creek Upper Falls 693800mE 5259500mN
  • Shannon Lake Creek Lower Falls 693950mE 5260100mN
    ...reconned in 2004
  • Eleven Mile Creek swim 692950mE 5261100mN
    ...bridge just about destroyed in 2004; may be gone
  • Raindrop Lake Falls 690650mE 5263050mN
    ...spotted from distance of 800 meters in 2004, not reconned
    ...Saturday night bivouac
  • Mile 119 Agawa River swim (bridge washed out) 689000mE 5263400mN
    ...Sunday night backup
  • Return to Mile 102.5 ACR Frater Station (abandoned) by flagging down and boarding southbound ACR train (No. 632), which passes by after 1:40 pm and only runs on Thursday, Saturday, Sunday, and Monday

Land Nav Team Info:

   Topographic maps:
      1:50,000 Old Woman Lake 41N/10 & 41N/11 (required)
      1:50,000 Grey Owl Lake 41 N/8 (required)
      1:50,000 Agawa Bay 41 N/7 (required)
      1:50,000 Black Spruce Lake 41 N/9 (required)
      1:20,000 20-16-6800-52400 (Ontario base map, optional)
      1:20,000 20-16-6800-52500 (Ontario base map, optional)
      1:20,000 20-16-6800-52600 (Ontario base map, optional)
      1:20,000 20-16-6900-52400 (Ontario base map, optional)
      1:20,000 20-16-6900-52500 (Ontario base map, optional)
      1:20,000 20-16-6900-52600 (Ontario base map, optional)
       --Topo map ordering information
       --Topo map waterproofing & GPS prep

   Park maps:
      1:100,000 Lake Superior Provincial Park Map
       --Order at 1-705-856-2284

   2005 Magnetic declination specs:
      Magnetic declination for Lat 47° 24'N, Lon 84°28'W:
         07° 31' west
      UTM easting grid line to meridian line deviation:
         02° 01' east (Gray Owl Lake, edition 2 quad)
      UTM easting grid line magnetic declination:
         09° 32' west

   GPS configuration specs:
      Grid coordinate system
         1000-meter Universal Transverse Mercator Grid (UTM)
      UTM grid horizontal map datum:
        1:20,000 maps:
            1927 North American Datum Canada (NAD 27 Can)
        1:50,000 edition 2 (old) maps:
            1927 North American Datum Canada (NAD 27 Can)
        1:50,000 edition 3 (current) maps:
            1983 North American Datum (NAD 83)
      UTM grid zone:
         Zone 16
      UTM grid hemisphere:
         Northern hemisphere
      Unit of measure:
      Battery type:
         Lithium, for deep cold, or long-range use
         Alkaline, for 3-season use
      Battery type setting:
         Select type of battery (lithium, alkaline, or Ni-Cad);
         battery discharge-rate differences affect meter accuracy

   Misc nav setup:
      Roamer UTM plotter scale(s):
         1:20,000 & 1:50,000
      Ranger pacing beads:
         Metric--9 100-meter beads; 4 1-kilometer beads
      Magnetic declination setting on compass:
         0° of offset

   More land nav team info



Return to upcoming trips page and read about another trip

Return to top of pageReturn to upcoming trips page | Return to home page

In God's wilderness lies the hope of the world,
the great, fresh, unblighted, unredeemed wilderness.

 — John Muir 1838-1914, Alaska Wilderness, 1890

Content Copyright © 1984-- 2005-09-09
by Michael A. Neiger

* All rights reserved *
No part of this Web page or this Web site protected by copyright law may be reproduced, transmitted, or used in any form--including graphic, electronic, Web, mechanical or other form--or by any means--including photocopying, recording, taping, Internet distribution, information storage retrieval system, or by other means--for any purpose, except by a reviewer, who may quote brief passages, without the prior, express, written permission of the author.

* Disclaimer *
The information contained on this Web page and this Web site are provided solely for information, illustrative, and discussion purposes. Although the author has made a sincere effort to ensure the accuracy and reliability of the information presented on this Web page and this Web site, no warranty is expressed or implied. The author assumes no responsibility or liability for any injuries, damages, losses, or other consequences that may result from the use of the information contained on this Web page and this Web site. As with any human endeavor, omissions, inaccuracies, and errors will occur on this Web page and this Web site and the author makes no representations or warranties with respect to the accuracy or completeness of the information presented or that the information presented will produce any particular result or be suitable for any particular situation, person, organization, or other entity. While corrections and revisions may or may not be made from time to time, any changes made to this Web page and this Web site are made without obligation to notify any person, organization, or other entity of any such changes. The activities associated with the information contained on this Web page and this Web site are by their very nature inherently dangerous and the information presented can not take the place of good personal judgement, sound decision-making, professional training, proper equipage, adequate physical fitness, and expert guidance by trained and experienced professionals.

Comments? Suggestions?
Dead links? Inaccurate info?
Contact the WebMaster at mneiger@hotmail.com

A MacroMedia DreamWeaver 4 and Fireworks 4 production

Web site URL -- http://therucksack.tripod.com

Return to top of page  |  Return to home page